Japanese automakers set fire to auto chip factory

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Concerns over the fire’s impact on production caused auto stocks in Tokyo on Monday, the big three, Toyota, Honda and Nissan, to fall more than 2% as of noon.

“It will probably take more than a month to return to normal supply. Given this, even Toyota will face very volatile production in April and May, ”said Seiji Sugiura, senior analyst at the Tokai Tokyo Research Institute. “I think Honda, Nissan and other manufacturers will also face a difficult situation.”

Low stocks

Semiconductors such as those manufactured by Renesas are widely used in cars, including to monitor engine performance, manage steering or automatic windows, and in sensors used in parking and entertainment systems.

Nissan and Honda had previously been forced to cut production plans due to chip shortages resulting from growing demand from consumer electronics manufacturers and an unexpected rebound in car sales after a crisis in the first few months. of the coronavirus pandemic.

Toyota, which has ensured parts suppliers have enough chip inventory, has fared better so far.

“It could take three months or even six months for a full recovery,” said Akira Minamikawa, analyst at technology research firm Omdia. “It happened when the chip stocks were low, so the impact is going to be big.”

Renesas said its customers, mostly auto parts makers rather than automakers, would start seeing their chip shipments drop in about a month. The company declined to say which machine caught fire due to the power failure or which company made it.

The Japanese government has pledged help for the industry.

“We will firmly try to help the Naka plant to recover quickly by helping it quickly acquire alternative manufacturing equipment,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a press conference on Monday. regular.

Reuters


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